The holidays can be a rushing headache or it can be a breathe of fresh pine.
Updated: Nov 6, 2018
“It’s not about where an adventure ends, cause that’s not what an adventure’s about. So anything that happens from here on out is a bonus.” – Matt Damon (We Bought a Zoo)
The holiday season has arrived in full force and with it comes a lot of parties to attend, gifts to buy, elves to hide, and possibly Santas to see. For many children and adults, the weeks after Thanksgiving are just there to ramp up for the excitement of Christmas morning.
As I was thinking about this over the weekend, this random quote popped into my head. It was a quote from a movie called We Bought a Zoo. I was never interested in watching this movie simply because the title sounded a little cheesy, but one Saturday afternoon, while the kids were napping, I found it playing on TV.
There were several parts in the movie I connected with but this quote in particular stuck with me. I have pondered this quote a lot over the past several months but it really jumped to the front of my thoughts over this last week.
In our American culture, we love to do things big, loud, and bright. We also tend to really value the end product over the process or journey it took to get there. I feel this happens in a lot of families this time of year. There is so much emphasis, especially with children, placed on Christmas morning and all the gifts and fun that takes place that day.
Many families miss an opportunity to teach their children that the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are about an adventure, a journey, that can hold within it as much joy and excitement as that magical Christmas morning.
This is the beauty of having traditions and rituals within families. Formerly, as a school counselor, I would get caught in a pattern of just pushing through these weeks and hoping they went quickly so I could then enjoy some time off over Christmas break. I found myself hungering for the end product and waiting in anticipation for a much needed rest.
As I contemplated this quote over this past week, I have been trying to stop, take a deep breathe, and really capture these moments with my kids and my wife.
I know I won’t have these days forever to watch my children’s faces light up at Christmas lights adorning our neighborhood, singing Christmas songs in the car as we journey around town, lighting Advent candles and reading holiday bedtime stories.
I want to remember this as a special time not because of what happens on December 25, but because of an exciting journey we began on December first. I am not inferring anyone of us needs to be doing more this time of year, but I am suggesting we can do more of the things we are doing with the intention of being truly present with our kids and family.
If we journey well over these next few weeks and in our lifetimes the outcomes will take care of themselves. I believe these few weeks in December can be a great time to get into some healthy habits of enjoying these sweet beautiful moments not because of where they lead us but because of who we journey with in these moments.
Plan to do simple things like take a walk around your block and soak in the creativity of the light displays that break through the darkness, or sit for a moment in the busyness of the mall shopping season and just soak in the experiences of the music and people looking for the best gift to display their love to family and friends, or maybe begin a new tradition around the 12 days of Christmas that the kids will someday pass onto their own children.
In short, let’s take a moment to smell the pine trees because before you know it this magical time with our children will pass us by.